Assessment for learning in higher education

  • Alice Lau

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The thesis is about assessment for learning. It aims to examine the gap between theory and practice in assessment for learning through a case study approach. By examining closely the assessment practice in one higher education institution in the UK, the thesis presents a number of original contributions to the literature, knowledge base and practice of assessment for learning.

    The thesis challenges the established literature in assessment for learning and proposes that the literature should move away from the dichotomised view of summative and formative assessment. The thesis also highlights the lack of an explicit theoretical underpinning in assessment for learning and proposes that the social constructivist approach should be made more explicit in the assessment for learning literature.

    With the case study demonstrating that lecturers often take a surface approach towards assessment for learning principles, the thesis proposes that dialogue needs to be seen as the common thread in assessment for learning. By understanding that assessment for learning is about a process that involves meaningful dialogue between 1) tutors and tutors, 2) tutors and learners, 3) learners and peers and finally 4) learners themselves, lecturers will be presented with a new knowledge base to re-consider their assessment practice.

    The case study also reveals that lecturers from certain disciplines found the notion of assessment for learning aligned with their disciplines more readily. This finding together with the contributions to literature and knowledge base will present a new perspective towards assessment for learning and look to inform practice that will result in a deep approach to assessment for learning.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorNorah Jones (Supervisor), David Turner (Supervisor), Haydn Blackey (Supervisor) & Karen Fitzgibbon (Supervisor)


    • Educational tests and measurements
    • higher education
    • Universities and colleges
    • Great Britain
    • Examinations

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